Smithfield, RI – There was a buzz of energy in the air as the annual meeting of the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) kicked off in Nashville, TN. The DoubleTree hotel in downtown Nashville was the hub of the activity as the 43rd annual meeting of ABPA members kicked off on Tuesday, 4/25. This event featured both record attendance as well as record sponsorship!
As the Tuesday evening Welcoming Reception kicked off, it was apparent that this was a different atmosphere compared to recent years. Normally this event is lightly attended by ABPA Board members and golfers preparing for the next day’s tournament. However, this year the reception was full of almost a full compliment of expected attendees for the week. The momentum continued with the Wednesday morning business session led by ABPA Chair Chris Northup who welcomed the attendees and was followed by ABPA Executive Director Ed Salamy who gave a full industry update on the activities of the Association.
There were two main themes featured at ABPA Nashville; Right to Repair and Technology. The abbreviated Wednesday session featured Justin Rzepka of the CAR Coalition who gave attendees a full update on the activities of the Coalition, updates on both the SMART & REPAIR Acts and he also gave attendees information on how they can participate in the movement. Greg Horn of PartsTrader then gave his informative collision industry update that was once again well received by attendees.
Following the Wednesday morning business session, golfers departed for the annual ABPA golf tournament held at the nearby Gaylord Springs Golf Course. Other attendees were given the option to take advantage of the hotel’s central downtown location and explore Nashville at their leisure.
Once again, the ABPA partnered with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and the Recycled Rides program who gave away two vehicles on Wednesday evening to two deserving veteran families. Both Nationwide and Geico were generous enough to donate the vehicles while Crash Champions and Exterra Solutions repaired the vehicles. As an added bonus, the event was picked up by local media which gave it the positive recognition that it deserved.
Following the Recycled Rides giveaway, ABPA attendees enjoyed the Tradeshow cocktail hour and dinner in the Ballroom where they had the opportunity to meet the exhibitors, make new contacts, and enjoy an evening with industry friends.
Thursday was a full day for attendees starting with the Thursday morning business session. Kicking off the session was Brandon Eckenrode of the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) who provided an update on their program and Stacey Miller of AutoCare who provided a global update on the Right to Repair movement. Chris Northup then hosted his second annual panel discussion which this year reviewed current and future industry trends. Industry leaders on the panel included Scott Kohl with Kemper, Don Hermanek with Insurance Auto Auctions, Odom Wu with Tractable, and Leslie Jones with CCC. Tony Cotto of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) was next and reviewed the numerous business, legislative, and regulatory pressures facing auto insurers in 2023 and beyond. Rounding off the Thursday morning business session was the CAPA / Intertek team who knocked it out of the park with their presentation of “Who Wants to be a CAPA-naire” which mimicked the format of the famous game show with a similar name. Three teams participated and the show provided information on the CAPA program as well as many laughs for attendees.
During lunch, ABPA members were given the opportunity to vote for their Board members. Congratulations to Chris Northup (Professional Parts Group) and Jim Smith (JSC Group) for being re-elected to the Board and retaining their positions. Also, congratulations to Ilia Georgiev of Carparts.com, Eric Taylor of KSI Auto Parts, and Dolores Richardson of At-Pac for being elected to the Board of Directors!
It was a busy lunch as following the elections process, the annual ABPA awards were distributed to their very deserving recipients. Congratulations to Mike Dolabi and Congressman Daryl Issa (Industry Awards), ABC Parts International (President’s Award), Ilia Georgiev (Rodman Award), and Dolores Richardson (Hogarty Award)!
Following lunch, attendees had the opportunity to participate in the educational breakout sessions including one featuring information on the Partslink Numbering System. Other topics included AI estimating, digital marketing, and an update on the car-part.com platform.
To wrap things up on a high note, ABPA attendees were invited to a late afternoon cocktail party hosted by PartsTrader at Margaritaville followed by the ABPA Dinner Party at the Wildhorse Saloon. At the Wildhorse, all attendees seemed to have a great time socializing with their industry friends while enjoying cornhole, axe throwing, and the photobooth. ABPA 2024 will be held at the beautiful Scott Resort in Scottsdale Arizona in April 2024. An official announcement with event details will be coming soon.
See you all in Scottsdale!
Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA)
See the gallery below for some photos from the convention!